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|"California Connected" Kicks Off Third Season,
Broadcasting On PBS Stations Statewide,
Thursday, February 19|
Veteran Journalist Lisa McRee -- Formerly of "Good Morning America" --
Joins Series as New Host
Unique Arrangement Also Makes Series Available For
Broadcast on State's Public Radio Stations
LOS ANGELES -- Jan. 30, 2004 -- The innovative, witty and award-winning public newsmagazine, "California Connected," makes its third-season premiere with the first of two specials on Thursday, Feb. 19, at 10 p.m., broadcasting simultaneously on California's PBS stations statewide. The hour-long weekly newsmagazine provides original, in-depth coverage of California's issues and encourages citizen participation in government and civic life.
Lisa McRee, former host of "Good Morning America" and longtime news anchor at KABC in Los Angeles, debuts as the new host of the series, which is executive produced by former "60 Minutes" producer Marley Klaus.
"Can California Be Governed?" is the topic of the debut episode, in which McRee leads a roundtable discussion with several of the state's former governors (TBA) and asks what steps the state needs to take to revive California's economy and solve its fiscal problems. Later in the episode, "California Connected" explores the group that is spending the most money lobbying Sacramento -- our cities and counties -- and how their lobbying dollars (also known as tax dollars) are outpacing the lobbying efforts of groups like the gaming industry, teachers, prison guards and car companies.
The 2004 season also marks the first time "California Connected" produces a weekly audio version of the show that is being made available to all public radio stations statewide, including KPBS-FM (San Diego), KQED-FM (San Francisco, Sacramento) and KPCC-FM (Pasadena). A complete radio listings guide, as well as streaming audio of "California Connected," will be made available on the show's Web site at californiaconnected.org.
"California is one of the most diverse places in the world, culturally, financially and geographically, creating some wonderful challenges for this type of program," observes Klaus. "Our mission is to entertain and enlighten Californians on important issues and encourage them to take action, become a part of finding solutions to the challenges we all face, and most importantly, participate in how they are governed."
"I'm thrilled to work on a show that brings so much depth of understanding to the issues and events that shape our lives," explains McRee. "Whether it's a story on the state government which affects us all, or on how local communities are making their neighborhoods safer, the show takes the time to explain all sides of an issue and empower citizens to take action."
A second "California Connected" special episode -- "Democracy Daze" -- will follow the premiere on Thursday, Feb. 26, and will feature the Democratic Presidential candidates in a roundtable discussion on the future of California. It also takes a careful look at some of the items on the March 2nd ballot, including coverage of a high school debate class from Danville, Calif., as they take on the pros and cons of Proposition 56, before taking it to a vote themselves.
Following the two February special editions of "California Connected," the newsmagazine then returns to its regular weekly format on Thursday, March 25 at 10 p.m.
Future segments planned for "California Connected" include a look at how voters and elected officials often have misconceptions about each other, a one-hour special on California immigration, and a roundtable discussion on the future of California from some of the state's premiere business leaders. Additional information regarding the show and the topics discussed can be found on the Internet at californiaconnected.org, which serves as both a resource center for viewers who want to become more involved in their government and communities, and an educational resource used by schools.
"California Connected" is co-produced by four PBS stations -- KCET-Los Angeles, KPBS-San Diego, KQED-San Francisco and KVIE-Sacramento -- but is broadcast statewide through a unique collaboration with KEET-Eureka, KIXE-Redding, KOCE-Huntington Beach, KRCB-Rohnert Park, KVCR-San Bernardino and KVPT-Fresno.
The "California Connected" audio version is produced by KPBS, and KQED runs the show's Web magazine.
Since its creation, the show has garnered numerous awards. In 2003, awards included two Golden Mikes, two Aurora Awards for a News Magazine/Interview, a Gracie Award (American Women in Radio and Television), three Northern California Emmys, one for best current affairs program and another for Best Reporting on Government, as well as honors from the Association of Capitol Reporter and Editors TV Public Service for In-Depth Reporting.
"California Connected" is executive produced by Marley Klaus. Michael Schenker is the executive line producer and Deborah Clark is the senior producer. Joyce Campbell is the series production executive for KCET. The series is close-captioned and available in Spanish through the Second Audio Program function.
The series is funded by The James Irvine Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation and welcomes its newest partner, The California Endowment.
Barry Smith/Bonnie Winings
Shepley Winings Public Relations